Rotochopper, St. Martin, Minnesota, recently hosted the Elbow Lake, Minnesota-based Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association (CMMA) meeting on Rewriting the Rural Narrative, followed by tour of its manufacturing facility.
Rural communities are being portrayed by the media as suffering from “rural brain drain” and struggling to survive, Benjamin Winchester, senior research fellow at the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, St. Paul, Minnesota, said during a presentation.
“Small towns are changing, not dying,” Winchester said. “There is an in-migration of 30- to 49-year-old adults in rural communities and this group of newcomers is contributing to ‘rural brain gain.’ They don’t move outside the city for jobs, and in some cases choose to be underemployed, in exchange for simpler lifestyles, safety and security and lower housing costs. By focusing on what we want to be in the future, rather than on how things were in the past, we can dispel the negative perception surrounding rural communities.”
Winchester said that, ultimately, communities like St. Martin are in the middle of everywhere and the community needs to throw away the notion that it is in the middle of nowhere. Society needs to rewrite the way potential employees think about communities to attract their talents to our organizations.
“Rotochopper is the perfect example of a company that is engaging with the community by being a member of CMMA and offering tours to area schools and organizations to learn more about their business and attract future job seekers,” Della Ludwig, workforce strategy consultant for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, St. Paul, says.
Members of Rotochopper’s customer service, quality and operations departments led 80 members from the CMMA on a tour of the manufacturing facility.
Some of the questions the group asked included: how machines are built each year; what materials does a Rotochopper process; other companies that build grinders; how old the oldest employee is; and how does the company find enough help.
“Not only was the team at Rotochopper great hosts for our CMMA tour, but they are another great example of the amazing work being done by manufacturers throughout rural Minnesota,” Nathan Brown, sales and client services manager at Mid Central Door, Waite Park, Minnesota, says. “Our tour guide and the entire team were so passionate and proud of the work they are doing out in St. Martin.”